Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Headlining: Sources tell Billboard that the biggest unveilings at Apple’s (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference next month may have little to do with software or gadgets. Apple is reportedly in talks to purchased high-end headphone-maker and music streaming service operator Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. The deal could take weeks to close. Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine could make an appearance at the WWDC in June, officially announcing the deal and highlighting their new roles as senior Apple executives. News of the Beats acquisition initially left many analysts scratching their heads. However, Apple may be using the acquisition to recruit Beats’ senior talent. Iovine is a long-time music producer and will reportedly head Apple’s music operations, managing the iPod-maker’s interaction with record labels. Apple has been looking for ways to boost its music revenue as iTunes downloads dip. The Beats streaming service would add a subscription service to Apple’s offerings. This year’s WWDC takes place in San Francisco between June 2 and June 6.
Protest: One of the plaintiffs in an anti-poaching class action lawsuit against a number of technology giants, including Apple, isn’t happy with a proposed settlement, the New York Times notes. The lawsuit — which accused the companies to agreeing to refrain from recruiting each other’s employees — was scheduled to go to trial at the end of this month. However, last month, the companies agreed to settle the suit for $324 million. Now, Michael Devine, one of the plaintiffs named in the suit, is asking U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh to reject the settlement. Devine sent a letter to the judge, noting that the companies would pay just 10% of the total damages the plaintiffs were demanding under the settlement. “We want our day in court,” Devine wrote, referring to the 64,000 workers covered by the class action suit. The plaintiffs contend that the anti-poaching agreements reduced wage competition, unfairly reducing their compensation. Under the proposed settlement, class members would get “a few thousand dollars each,” but the plaintiffs’ attorneys could walk away with fees of up to $75 million. In order to persuade the judge to reject the deal, Devine will likely have to rally many more class members to oppose the deal. Devine has created a website and is seeking new legal counsel. His attempt to disrupt the settlement could take months.
Popular: Microsoft (MSFT) is has a big hit on its hands … on the iPad, AppleInsider notes. Since its debut in March, Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps have been downloaded more than 27 million times from the App Store. Office for iPad includes Microsoft’s productivity suite of applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Word remains the fourth-most downloaded iPad app. Microsoft is offering the apps as free downloads. However, the free versions contain restricted functions, allowing users to view documents through the apps, but not create or significantly edit them. Full functionality can be obtained with an in-app purchase of an Office 365 subscription.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.